Aaron Rodgers overcame injury and orchestrated a miraculous second-half comeback against the Bears to highlight an action-packed Week 1
The NFL is back in our lives and, despite all of the negative stories in the offseason, it’s a welcome sight for many to see touchdowns being scored and hard-hitting defensive plays being made. The first week of the season started out with the defending champs surviving a nail-biter and had just a little bit of everything through the finale on Monday night.
While it’s still a little early to throw all the preseason predictions out the window completely, now that we’ve had a chance to see teams in actual games, our opinions on them might have shifted slightly heading into Week 2.
Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.
Week 2 NFL Power Rankings
1. Philadelphia Eagles
The defending champions raised their well-earned banner on a rainy night in the city of Brotherly Love and then proceeded to show just how they won it in that game against the Falcons. There was everything from a swarming defense to a Philly Special II. It wasn’t the sharpest of outings and Nick Foles didn’t look the part of a Super Bowl MVP but this remains one of the best rosters in the league and capable of beating anybody.
2. Los Angeles Rams
It kind of felt like the Rams treated that first half against the Raiders like a preseason game (which it was for Aaron Donald certainly). Then they flashed the Super Bowl potential this team has after the break. Need to clean a few things up defensively but the sky remains the limit for this group.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins made some big-time throws to look sharp in his first day in purple. This offense should only get better as the year goes on and that defense remains one of the best in the game. They baited Jimmy G. into several throws and generally made it a miserable outing. You would have liked to see more urgency in putting the win away but one of the NFC favorites got off to a good start.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs may not be the best team in the NFL but they sure look like the most fun to watch every week. Patrick Mahomes’ debut was near perfection with four touchdowns against a good defense and some eye-watering throws in the process. Congrats to Tyreek Hill fantasy owners.
5. Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers is that guy. Wowzers, what an incredible comeback from the best quarterback in the game right now. Don’t let it go unnoticed how the Packers' defense tightened up at halftime and the coaching staff finally got a sense of urgency to go up-tempo. Huge one next week.
6. Atlanta Falcons
Well, that was a familiar outing from the Falcons. The red zone struggles apparently were not fixed and it seems as though all of Atlanta would like to run OC Steve Sarkisian out of town before the next game. Matt Ryan wasn’t as sharp as one would have liked but this still has the look of a good football team that will be in the NFC mix. Julio Jones remains unstoppable and the Falcons' defense, especially the front seven, was more than solid despite the loss.
7. New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski remains the most dangerous offensive weapon in the game of football. The rebuilt receiving corps and defense were fine but this doesn’t seem like the kind of team that will be winning games by three-plus scores every other week.
8. Baltimore Ravens
Now that is the way to open the season. Joe Flacco’s resurgence does appear to be the real deal after three touchdown tosses and the defense is still on point in Baltimore. It all came against an overmatched Bills team so expectations have to be tempered somewhat but the bandwagon will fill up quickly with more efforts like that.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars
Leonard Fournette’s absence definitely put a lot on the shoulders of Blake Bortles, who showed once again why the team’s ceiling is a bit limited with him at quarterback. That defense remains legit however so as long as they’re not turning the ball over, the Jags will be in every game.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
That effort against the Browns was cause for concern but maybe not quite enough to pull the fire alarm. Not good? The six turnovers to start and the blown 14-point lead in the final quarter. James Conner’s play was encouraging at least but we’ll see if that entire Steelers performance serves as a wake-up call or portends a much more difficult year ahead.
11. Carolina Panthers
The good? That defense looked nasty once again and was able to generate a ton of pressure with just the front four. The bad? The offense never seemed to get in a rhythm and sustain drives. The really bad? Greg Olsen and Daryl Williams were both hurt and Luke Kuechly suffered a nasty looking injury (but was able to return). Certainly takes the sting out of a win over the Cowboys.
12. Houston Texans
Nice second-half rally to make things interesting in Foxborough but the offensive line remains an Achilles heel for the Texans. That’s, uh, not great if you have a quarterback coming back from a knee injury. Houston can still make noise in the AFC South but the Texans are going to need a bit more out of their front seven to do so.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
New season, same mistakes dooming the Chargers — all at their “home” stadium making just as much noise when the Bolts' offense was on the field as the opponents. Veteran Philip Rivers had a nice day and rookie Derwin James looks like a Pro Bowler already, but all that playoff talk needs to take a timeout for the time being.
14. New Orleans Saints
It’s one thing to lose to a division rival, it’s quite another to give up 48 points to a career backup and see your defense struggle to get a stop — in the fortress of the Superdome, no less. This team was a trendy Super Bowl pick but has to seriously regroup based on that first game.
15. Chicago Bears
Bears fans have to be numb after watching that second half unfold against the Packers. Silver lining was Khalil Mack was a beast despite limited prep and this might be the most fun offense to watch in the Windy City in years. Not that any of that will take the sting out of a loss like that.
16. New York Giants
A pick-six and muffed punt at the end put a damper on a very winnable game for New York but the bottom line is the entire roster looks much improved and the play on the field was night-and-day compared to stretches last season. The defense showed the most encouraging signs but it was a good debut for Saquon Barkley too.
17. Denver Broncos
Case Keenum will dwell on those three picks he threw but it was an otherwise good effort to begin his Denver career. Ball security will be paramount because that defense looks every bit as good as it used to — with Von Miller making an early case for MVP with three sacks and two forced fumbles.
18. Dallas Cowboys
This team is a gift to talk radio in the Metroplex this week. The defense was not to blame in this one and probably got off to an encouraging start for many Dallas fans. The offense is a mess though and you can start with that once vaunted offensive line looking decidedly pedestrian. If they can’t run the ball, the lack of receiving weapons becomes even more glaring.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FitzMagic! Fitz. Magic. As the year progresses, that 48-40 score might wind up being the most puzzling result of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick had the game of his life in the dome (417 yards, five total touchdowns) and if he can even come close to repeating that, suddenly the team can’t be written off like many wanted to as soon as Jameis Winston was suspended.
20. New York Jets
Breathe Jets fans, breathe. Though the Sam Darnold era looked like it would be off to a rough start with his first pass, things certainly rebounded in a big way. You saw a well-coached team on the road with scoring coming in all three phases. It wasn’t too long ago that the Jets had the worst roster in the league and now things are certainly looking a lot differently.
21. Oakland Raiders
There were good and bad things to take away from Jon Gruden’s return on Monday night. The defense still needs to figure out a pass rush and Derek Carr was simply awful down the stretch. This group can get better but that was not the best of efforts in the Black Hole after a promising start.
22. Washington Redskins
You can teach old guys new tricks, right? Seemed like it as Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson turned back the clock and beat up on an overmatched Cardinals squad out in the desert. A 2-0 start isn’t out of the question the way the Redskins performed on Sunday.
23. San Francisco 49ers
Jimmy G. finally loses one as a starting quarterback and didn’t look all that great as it seemed like he was frustrated from the opening snap. This still is a team that can make a jump in the win column but all those injuries, from Marquise Goodwin to the offensive line, are concerning.
24. Seattle Seahawks
It says plenty that the best thing about the loss to the Broncos was probably the rest of the league discovering how great punter Michael Dickson is and former Washington Husky tight end Will Dissly having a big day. Russell Wilson kept his team in it but it’s going to be a long, long year if the offensive line gives up six sacks again and fails to open any running lanes.
25. Miami Dolphins
Not sure if you can really figure out the Dolphins based on that weather-delayed opener but it was great to see Frank Gore running hard and Ryan Tannehill getting game snaps. Maybe the best development was flashes from young guys like Jakeem Grant and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
26. Tennessee Titans
See above, hard to really grade Mike Vrabel’s debut given the delays and all of the injuries. In fact, that might be the most concerning aspect of the opener as Delanie Walker was carted off (and is out for the season), Taylor Lewan missed most of the game and QB Marcus Mariota was both injured and ineffective.
27. Cincinnati Bengals
Sometimes you just need a little luck to win games and the Bengals discovered theirs in the form of Clayton Fejedelem, who nobody in the league heard of before he scooped and scored to salt away the win in Indy. A.J. Green and Joe Mixon remain big-time weapons but we’ll see if this was all just a flash in the pan next week.
28. Cleveland Browns
The Browns didn’t lose! The Browns didn’t lose! They even looked fairly competent and appear to have a quarterback they can win with. Things are indeed looking up by the lake but we’re going to need to see actual victories before they rise up this list.
29. Detroit Lions
Well, the Matt Patricia era is off to an ominous start. Chances are Matthew Stafford won’t be that awful again but giving up all those points (both defensively and on special teams), the former Belichick assistant’s supposed specialty, can’t ignite much hope in the near term.
30. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is back and that’s cause for much rejoicing around Indianapolis. The offensive line was even modestly better. But the defense and lack of a run game remain serious issues in 2018.
31. Arizona Cardinals
Talk about a rough debut for a new head coach, that game was hard to watch if you were a Cardinals fans. Sam Bradford was far from accurate and there wasn’t much push at all from the offensive line. David Johnson’s first game following that big extension? Sixty-seven total yards and a late score to prevent the shutout.
32. Buffalo Bills
The Bills might take over for the Browns as the go-to pick to play against in survivor pools. As bad as things were against the Ravens, the lumps will only continue if rookie quarterback Josh Allen gets thrown to the fire. Hard to believe Buffalo made the playoffs only a year ago.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.